Millions of people in the United States alone are currently managing diabetes. Are you one of them?
Diabetes is a serious but manageable condition. Since diabetes can damage the heart, kidneys, and nerves, to name a few, it’s crucial to manage it as best as possible. We’re here to discuss some of the most important facts so you can understand what’s going on in your body.
We’ll discuss the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, good (and bad) snacks for diabetes, can diabetes be cured, and what can help you reach diabetes freedom.
Read on to learn more.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that impacts how your body can turn food into energy.
When your blood sugar goes up after a meal, your pancreas is supposed to release insulin to control it. This lets the sugar (glucose) into your cells so you can use it for energy later on.
If someone has diabetes, this process can’t happen. The body doesn’t produce enough insulin on its own or your cells are no longer responding to the insulin that it does produce.
In America, there’s a high prevalence of diabetes that appears to be trending upward due to poor diets and unhealthy lifestyles (though there are other factors involved).
Over 37 million Americans have diabetes and just under 2 million of those Americans have type 1 diabetes.
What’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes might seem similar on the surface, and they have many of the same symptoms, but there are still some clear differences.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. It’s not currently preventable and it often appears in childhood. People who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes rarely get their diagnosis after young adulthood and many people receive a diagnosis as toddlers.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes will develop quickly and without warning.
Type 2 diabetes takes several years to develop, and most of the time it develops in mid to late adulthood. That said, more and more teens and young children are developing type 2 diabetes.
When you have type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t know how to use insulin. this is called insulin resistance. It’s often the result of obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, but people can also be genetically predisposed to diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes
There are several common symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes that you should be looking out for. Some of these symptoms could have alternative causes, but if several of them appear at once (especially if they appear quickly), it’s a good idea to visit a doctor for an evaluation.
Common symptoms include:
- Dry skin
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Numb extremities
- Slow healing
- Blurry vision
There are also some unusual symptoms of diabetes that are normally associated with type 1. They include:
- Severe stomach pain
Remember that type 1 diabetes can present quickly. If you notice these symptoms, talk to a doctor right away.
Diabetes Weight Gain or Loss
Many people associate diabetes and weight gain, and for good reason. Again, people with type 2 diabetes are often overweight. But does diabetes cause weight gain?
There is a connection between type 2 diabetes and weight gain in the stomach. Even people with type 1 diabetes may have a harder time controlling their weight. “Diabetes belly” is a real thing that many people struggle with.
There are also some diabetic meds that cause weight gain, though this isn’t the most common cause of diabetic belly fat.
Some of the best foods for diabetics will promote weight loss when they’re introduced as part of a healthy diet, but it will still be more difficult for someone with diabetes to lose weight. Fatigue, body aches, and symptoms of low blood sugar will all impact someone’s ability to pursue an active and healthy lifestyle.
It’s uncommon for diabetes to cause weight loss, but it can (rarely) happen if blood sugar gets so high that it starts to break down muscle tissue.
Non-Pharmacological Treatment for Diabetes
There is no cure for type 1 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes need to rely on insulin in order to stay alive. Type 2 diabetes, however, is different. You can learn how to get rid of diabetes (or at least the symptoms) on your own.
If you’ve experienced abdominal weight gain from diabetes, or if your weight gain caused your diabetes in the first place, the first step is to make a lifestyle change.
Eating a healthy diet and getting exercise will make a huge difference.
Vitamins for diabetics and supplements for diabetics that claim to “cure” diabetes will not have a positive effect. Some people use apple cider vinegar for diabetes and weight loss, but the research on this is minimal.
Medical Treatments for Diabetes
The first treatment for diabetes is insulin. People with diabetes can inject insulin or get an insulin pump.
People with type 2 diabetes may benefit from bariatric surgery that will help with weight loss, but it’s best to try to lose weight on your own.
Some people benefit from oral medication that can influence the pancreas to release more insulin. Other medications will inhibit the production of glucose or prevent the kidneys from reabsorbing sugar.
Diabetes and Your Diet
Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for people with diabetes. With an insulin pump, people with diabetes can eat most things, but it’s still important to be cautious. Even fruits for diabetes can be dangerous due to their high sugar content.
The best fruit for diabetics is any type of berry. Berries are full of antioxidants and fiber. They do have a lot of sugar, but the benefits outweigh the downsides. They make great diabetes snacks.
Other healthy diabetic snacks include:
- Nonfat yogurt
- Hummus and vegetables
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Apples and natural peanut butter
You might be wondering “Is keto good for diabetics?” This low-carb diet might be the best thing for people with diabetes to try. It can help them slim down and keep their blood sugar levels low.
Because keto diets tend to be high-protein, they’re good for muscle growth. The fact that they’re low-carb will help you avoid sugar spikes and excess weight gain.
8 Foods to Avoid With Diabetes
Again, people with diabetes can eat almost anything, but there are still some foods that you should avoid. Most of these foods are already unhealthy so they shouldn’t be a part of your normal diet anyway. They include:
- High-sugar cereal
- Fried meat
- Beans with lard
- Jelly or jam
- Processed grains
- Wine (alcohol and diabetes don’t mix)
- Packaged sweets
Everything is okay in moderation but watch your diet.
Do You Have Diabetes?
Now you know the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, how to treat and manage it, foods you should (and shouldn’t) eat, and more.
Diabetes is a manageable condition with appropriate medical care and healthy lifestyle changes.
Are you struggling to lose weight as a result of diabetes? Has your weight caused your diabetes? We want to help.
Contact us to get in touch with one of our weight loss coaches.